AUTONOMY Q2:223

I was surfing the TV channels when a channel caught my eye so I paused to listen. It was a Christian station and I cannot remember what made me stop. Being one who is eager to learn from anyone and everyone, I paused with my finger on the remote control, ready to change it if he was spewing something irrelevant to me.

The preacher was walking through the congregation holding a microphone and shared this joke (which I am paraphrasing):

A lady came to her pastor and said, ‘Pastor, I need you to pray for my husband. He has a demon!’

The pastor probed further to assess what kind of demon it was and she replied exasperatedly, ‘He wants to have sex in the morning, noon and night! Every time of the day, he wants to have sex. He has a demon, please help him cast it out!’

Then the Pastor replied, ‘I am sorry I cannot help you, young woman, because I too have this demon!’

 

I first felt the need to write this post when I was toilet-training my first son. I woke him in the middle of the night when he was either 2 or 3 and took him to the bathroom to pee. As is the Islamic tradition, after he urinated, I fetched some water to clean him up with and felt an erection/boner/stiffness or whatever you want to call it. I was amazed! I thought I knew the human body but apparently, I knew very little about the male anatomy and physiology. The books never mentioned toddlers were capable of a hard-on. Was this normal?

And I am not the only one. At the programme I mentioned in the previous post, a haematologist also sounded surprised that a sickle cell disease patient was brought in with priapism (a non-sexual painful erection) and he was only 4 years old.

When I encountered that reaction in my son, who sleepily returned to bed blissfully unaware, I spent some time awake, thinking about men and felt some sympathy for them. I felt it was not really their fault they were wired that way. Putting it as delicately as I can, men have a piece of flesh that basically has a mind of its own. It is autonomous. I believe that as boys become men, they are able to control it better but I doubt if the effect lessens. I am betting it increases as male hormones (which drive libido) kick in at puberty.

Allah knows best.

Before I got married, I knew guys are crazy about sex. We had sisters-only events where married women advised us about courting and marriage and emphasized the importance of sex. During my friends’ nikkah khutbah (wedding sermon), the imams mentioned it. During my own preparation, friends reminded me. All the books on marriage swore by it. I guess like with every oft-repeated advice, it loses its potency after a while and becomes cliché.

We women are quick to blame men for thinking with their phalluses but if you were deprived of eating for days with a feast in front of you, you would tear into that juicy piece of chicken once the flag goes down signalling ‘Eat!’ Besides, for a lot of African, Arab and Asian men, their self image is tied to their sexuality.

I once had a newly-married couple visit the hospital. They were crazy in love. The man seemed shy, the woman more willing to talk (perhaps, because she had encountered a female doctor). She explained how quickly the man ejaculates when they meet and they were worried he had an anomaly. I had to explain that it was normal especially because the man had married as a virgin. (Virgins are not as rare as we think). Imagine denying such a man who had kept his virginity until marriage where he finally feels he can let go of the reins and bask in his sexuality.

To women married to good non-philandering men, consider this:

Our men decided to select us out of the multitude of women they encountered for reasons best known to them. They could have followed the Order of the Phallus to wife a professional vixen with a PhD in Bedmatics but instead, they made an effort to practise Islam and married us. Instead, we punish them for making the right decision to think with their heads and marry a good woman and prospective mother of good Muslim children. We withhold sex to get back at them; simply because we feel we cannot match their libido; or because we are scared of pregnancy/childbirth.

The basic religious reason for marriage is for procreation with permission, or as a lecturer of mine put it ‘Marriage is a license to have sex’. The major world religions discourage (even forbid) sex outside the confines of marriage. If you have a man who has a healthy fear of God and you starve him of sexual intimacy, it seems unfair, callous and even, wicked. Of course, we are tired, over-worked, unappreciated, not in the mood etc. but we should consider that this is one of the halal ways a man can let his hair down after a day of the world hammering on him, beating him down with disappointment upon disappointment, challenge after challenge, temptation following temptation.

Some men are out there getting their grooves on with strange women; others are drinking or gambling their lives away. If your man returns home to you every night, in spite of your attitude because he hasn’t fulfilled your demands, you should hug him and welcome him home. No matter how much he pretends to behave macho, I believe men just want to feel desired and loved; encouraged to go back into the ring tomorrow to fight valiantly for the family’s survival.

Of course, I am writing this because I am in a good place with my husband today. Perhaps I would be less charitable when he’s annoying the heck out of me! XD #remindertoself

Seriously though, it doesn’t change the truth. We should appreciate our men more (especially if they are good men). I know the comments would not roll in because this is a bit personal but I would be glad to know that you surprised your man today (or better still, early in the morning after Fajr) ;). It is a weekend so unbuckle your chastity belt and ‘go to town’ and remind him of how happy he was when you guys decided to tie the knot. Let him be reassured that YOU are the best decision of his life!

CLUTTER II

continued from Clutter I

Advantages of regulating internet time

• Better money management: money will be put to better use instead of procuring more expensive phone, the latest gadgets, internet time, or spending money on gaming and pornography sites

• More productive and liberating lifestyle: you will be able to read the Qur’an more, pray more, sleep better, enjoy relationships, exercise and be more confident.

• Healthier life style with possible weight loss: you will be more active instead of sitting on your rear all day. Bad postures from sitting behind a desk all day will also reduce, saving yourself from low back pain later in life

• Promotes imagination and creative thinking: being online all day moulds your thinking and stunts fresh ideas making your ideas cookie-cutter images of all you read online. If you read what everyone reads, you know only what they know, right?

• De-clutters your mind: weeding out all that unnecessary information overload allows your brain ‘purge’ itself and retains information better

Solutions:
• Have a buddy check on you at various times of the day. Be accountable and honest with this person

• Weed out your bookmarks or speed dial sites (on Opera mini). Limit them to six

• When opening tabs, try to keep them to a maximum of 10. Once you are done, close that tab.

• Unfollow some perpetual but non-beneficial tweeters who clutter up your TL. Same goes for Instagram, FB, and other social media sites

• Add a couple of people who add more knowledge and value to your TL or feeds to make it richer. Also have live friends who you can talk to about daily events instead of tweeting about them.

• If you are use the BlackBerry Messenger or WhatsApp, talk to contacts who are prone to doing so, to stop sending you broadcast messages (BCs)

• Having a 1000 contacts on your cell phone, 80% who you haven’t contacted in 12 months beggars common sense. You really should delete them!

• Get a timer (not your phone and start to cut down on your internet time. Reduce an hour every day for a week, shave off 2 the next week until you reach a comfortable compromise. Keep it short and you will utilise your time online more purposefully

• Often times, our FB has been cluttered with all our family members, all our classmates since the last century, all our colleagues from several places of work, then all the FB pages we think might be interesting. It is often near-impossible to sieve the good from the bad so I would suggest opening another FB page (after all, it’s free!) and restricting friends to the bare minimum while you continue to ignore the other account as you’ve always done since you are always afraid to share your thoughts due to fear of your family or boss.

• Cut down on the number of gizmos you have: the more internet-connected devices you have, the more likely you will be online so maybe you will consider not renewing your phone internet subscription? Or leave your tablet device at home sometimes. Maybe.

• Upgrade and update your library to include books or magazines you love to read, toss out the old newsletters, magazines, and outdated books.

• Get a hobby and key into this, if you can, at those times you are most prone to go online

• Set a time for lights out. Once the time hits, go to bed. If you can’t sleep, make extra naflah, adhkar or read a book with your bedside lamp.

• Have off-days when you will not be online. At least once a week. Reward yourself on these days for fulfilling your promise. Penalise yourself if you have not been able to meet up.

• Bored? Play the your favourite recitation of the Qur’an, nasheeds, read the Quran, pray extra prayers, go on a nature or power walk, exercise, visit family or a friend, call a friend, read a book…the list is endless. Whatever you do, don’t spend all your free time in the sticky web.

• Last but not the least, deactivate notifications on your phone for all except calls and texts. The emails and instant messages can be read whenever you pick up your phone without the pressure the notification sounds bring.

Feel free to add more suggestions in the comment section and let me know how this works for you. I’m working on me too!

PS:

It’s been about a year I started blogging. I just saw the notification when I returned to my blog. It is unbelievable how time flies! 24 hours is beginning to seem insufficient.

A big thank you to the wonderful people who still follow and read my writings despite my inconsistent posts. I am truly honoured and grateful :D. Especially my dear mum who always reminds me to put up a post. ❤

It's a year already! Make hay while the sun shines, people!

CLUTTER I Q31.33, Q102.1-8

Those of us who have watched Oprah, or the satellite TV channel TLC will be familiar with people who have so much clutter in their homes, they can no longer live comfortably. They have a need to amass possessions and keep on doing so even when there appears to be no need for it. Their homes become unsafe and uninhabitable but they keep hoarding. They seem unable to click their ‘stop’ button.

We watch them and go ‘These oyinbo people sef!’ We wonder why these Americans have all sorts of strange problems. What we fail to see is how like these people we are.

Just as people clutter their homes, so do we clutter our minds with unnecessary information and data. We are addicted to the internet and waste several hours of our day trapped in the sticky Worldwide Web.

We loathe deleting non-useful contacts from our mobile phones; itch when we have not been online with the fear of having missed something; our eyes keep darting to the blinking notification light of our phones on the prayer rug as we pray; we look forward to our online friends more than our real-life friends…

We are essentially obsessed with being online. Let’s get real; what is the point in having all the info if we cannot utilise it? Why should we stack up on recipes if we can never make out the time to cook anyway?

Some of the causes and risk factors of Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) are:
Boredom: from unemployment, Stay-at-home moms, ASUU strike, etc
Depression: from loss of a dear one, loss of job, break-ups, poor school performance, etc
Anxiety: from agoraphobia, low self-esteem, anxiety attacks, paranoia
Loneliness: from death of a loved one, divorce, break-ups, relocation, SAHM, etc
Availability of gizmos: smartphones, Ipads, laptops, PCs etc
Insomnia: funnily enough, 24 hr internet is one of the greatest distractions from sleep hence it worsens sleeplessness instead of improving it

Effects of IAD include:

• Inability to complete tasks both at home and at work
• Mediocre work from rushing to complete tasks to hurry to the internet
• Poor social skills as one would rather be with online friends than real life friends
• Distance from family and live friends and missing out on living real time
• Phone is slow, battery dies quickly and one is left incommunicado at inconvenient times
• Money is wasted purchasing extra batteries, more internet time, Wifi, gadgets, etc
• Difficulty in making simple decisions: eg. a patient comes in an you ALWAYS have to google to make a diagnosis. You cannot answer questions without a need to google first
• Accidents in the car, at home on the stairs, or involving the children due to poor monitoring

to be continued tomorrow in sha Allah…

SABOTAGE Q7:23

I am ashamed to admit that I am one of those people who are often late. It’s not that I do not care about keeping others waiting. Far from that! I could use the excuse that it’s a cultural thing i.e. Nigerian timing which is often an hour or more beyond the scheduled time; or I could admit that I often shoot myself in the foot.

When I become tired of being late and decide to amend my ways, something always comes up. Seriously! Like I could decide to wake an hour earlier then prolong supplications after my Fajr salaah, iron extra clothes because it looks like I’ll be too early, then cook a complex breakfast, do the dishes, tidy the house, wake the littelets and play with them as I bathe them because I am no longer tense that I am running late…then, suddenly, am late! Again!


The few times we manage to be ready on time, the car refuses to star or we end up stuck in lousy traffic. Granted that the extra minutes help us to reach our destination at the usual time we often do, the fact that I made an effort to be punctual is lost on everyone! *petulant pout*

I often console myself that it is predestined that I am a late-comer but sometimes, I admit that I simply sabotage myself. If only I would stop packing in last minute extra duties because it looks like I’ll be early, I will make it on time but then, talk is cheap. I need to make serious and consistent du’a to stop undermining myself and so should we all.

We know that sinning will make our prayers harder to be answered but we sin and wonder why our requests go unanswered. We know that the best hours to communicate with Allah are at the last third of the night but we grab our blankets tighter when the alarm goes off. We are aware that the first deed we will be asked to account for is salaah but we skip it anyway. Being conscious of the fact that we will account for those/things entrusted to us doesn’t stop us from being negligent of them. Acknowledging that the world will continue to evade us as long as we chase it doesn’t seem to stop us from pursuing it tirelessly.

After messing up so bad, we still hope for Allah’s forgiveness and admission into Al-Jannah at the end of our lives. Funny, isn’t it? It’s kinda like skipping the exam and expecting to be promoted to the next class.

May Allah save us from ourselves because we often wrong ourselves by acting very foolishly, as our own stumbling blocks.

EASIER SAID THAN DONE Q4.28

image credit: thedesigninspiration.com

image credit: thedesigninspiration.com

Just before I got married, my parents and some close family friends/members gave me a crash course on Marriage 101. It was an interactive session where they asked practical questions and I gave them the right answers. I had been doing my homework, researching on the institution of marriage so I was going in fully aware and oriented. Or so I thought.
Imagine my chagrin a couple of months later when my husband kindly pointed out that I just did the opposite of the solution I proffered at my parents’. Just a couple of months on, I was acting contrary to what I had said I would do! I was appalled.

It is not the only the acquisition of knowledge that is important; what we do with that information is arguably more significant. It will not do for us to follow this blog (or indeed any blog), read the verses of the Qur’an and it does not reflect in our behaviour.

We have huffadh who have memorised the words of the Qur’an in its entirety but do not act upon it. This is also common amongst us doctors; we give the best medical advice but seldom follow it.

The soul is inclined toward destruction as a moth is inclined toward flames. We know we will be harmed by it but we gravitate towards it anyway, against our better judgment. This is made worse by Shaytan’s persistent whisperings, seeking to encourage us to give in to our nafs. We have to keep struggling to keep ourselves on the Right Path by steering our baser selves back on track and acting as we know we should. With Allah’s Mercy, we will be amongst the successful, in sha Allah.

Quote

WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING?

Been busy, that’s what. Truth is, i started blogging because I had a lot of time on my hands and a lot of thoughts in my head. I still have those thoughts, but not so much time.
clocking
I’ve been working on a project, a new one, while trying to finally complete an old one. These projects will affect my future directly. I hope. In sha Allah.

So, I’m sorry for the tumbleweed and dust and cobwebs covering my blog. I’ll be with you all soon. In sha Allah 🙂

Ibn Mas’ud narrated that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said:
“The feet of the son of Adam shall not move from before his Lord on the Day of Judgement, until he is asked about five things: about his life and what he did with it, about his youth and what he wore it out in, about his wealth and how he earned it and spent it upon, and what he did with what he knew.”

Just keep being patient with me and permit me to use my youth effectively! 😉

MIRAGE Q29.37-9

Photograph: Pete Turner/Getty Images

Photograph: Pete Turner/Getty Images


How fake we all are; resorting to religion only when it is socially acceptable.

We only remember to say Alhamdulillah when we are in Muslim gatherings, we observe salaah only when we have an audience, our Blackberry display pictures and Twitter avi have Islamic themes only on Islamic holidays or when we are trying to impress someone. Our Facebook statuses quickly announce to the world the minute we check into Islamic Centres and events, while our Instagram account buzzes with pious pictures which are far from who we really are. We are quick to re-broadcast messages and emails that say if you don’t pass it on then you don’t really love Allah, or the Prophet(SAW). Our cars are filled with paraphernalia with Arabic which we can neither translate nor speak.

Once the topic is about the size of hijab, the length of beard or trouser, and marriage (especially polygyny), we all get in a fevered frenzy trying to out-fatwa each other. The Arabic words that roll off our tongues were carefully articulated before a mirror to sound as authentic as possible and we drop them frequently and unnecessarily.

We scrub our foreheads with stones or insist on smacking the bare ground with our foreheads to acquire the tell-tale mark of prayer. Others will refuse to wipe the grains of sand off their faces and indeed would discourage others from doing so too. We play up our religiousness in front of honest folk and cheat them after they trust us. In politics, trade and daily activities.

What separates us from those who disbelieve? We have forgotten what it means to be Muslim and instead focus on being perceived as religious.

We are more concerned about portraying the right image than we are about truly connecting with Allah. If we focus on Allah instead, others will see the message clearer in us than when we continue to put up a facade and act a charade.

So, what does it mean to truly be Muslim, submitting to the will of Allah? Amongst other things, it is obeying His commands and avoiding what He has prohibited; forbidding evil and enjoining good, to avoid judging others, inviting to Islam in the best manners possible and doing all these strictly for Allah’s sake.

May Allah save us from ourselves and help us collapse the facade behind which we hide and improve ourselves for His Sake. May our deeds never become like a mirage in the desert.

JAHANNAM Q3.88, Q44.43-6, Q45.9

There is this joke I want to share with you; and with good reason.

Angels: Almighty Father, we are tired of these Nigerians in Heaven!
God: What have they done this time?
Angel: Everything! They do not listen to instructions! They don’t obey traffic rules and don’t wait their turn. They are reckless! In fact, they have turned heaven upside down since we started admitting them in.
God: Please, bear with them. They are very special to Me. Let Me call Satan in Hell to see how he is doing…Hello, Lucifer. How are things over there?
Satan: Baba God, please call me later. There is an issue I am trying to resolve!
10mins later
God: Hello, Lucifer…
Satan: I’ll call You back; the issue has turned to a crisis!
1 hour later
Satan: Sorry, God!
God: Are you having problems over there?
Satan: It is these Nigerians I have with me in Hell. They…they have quenched the fire in Hell and installed air conditioners!

One may chuckle or be tempted to. It is quite funny and pokes fun at how troublesome but resourceful we Nigerians can be. However, such issues shouldn’t be trivialised. I love jokes like any other person but we should be cautious when we fool around so we do not fall into error.

In contrast to the joke, the verses on Jahannam are truly terrifying. Do look them up.

image credit: jackidelecki.com

image credit: jackidelecki.com


To make matters worse, thirst is quenched with hot scalding oil, boiling water and dirty wound discharges in a place of inexorable heat, where the suffering is unrelenting and persistent.

And to read the tone of Allah’s Voice in these verses; so angry, so scary!

May Allah protect us from His Wrath. May we never get to spend a single second in such a vile fiery place!

ISTIKHARAH

At certain points in our lives, we arrive at a crossroads. It could be deciding to leave a job or choosing between two; whether or not to travel somewhere, buy something, choosing who to marry…it could be major, it could be minor.

When these situations arise, we often seek the counsel of those we know or experts in the field. However, after this, we should seek guidance from He Who matters the most. What we request is that Allah should have our backs, whatever decision we make.

This is not advocating indecisiveness; it is saying that after weighing our options, discussing with those with experience in that field or those dear to us, we should make our decision then trust Him to embark on the journey with you by making istikharah.

image credit: facetofaceafrica.com

image credit: facetofaceafrica.com


There is nothing spectacular about it. You do not need anyone to make it on your behalf. You do not need a special rug. Simply make your ablution and follow it with 2 rakats of prayer after which you recite the du’a. Afterwards? Well, you shouldn’t expect to see flying unicorns, that’s for sure. Allah will not (or is highly unlikely to) take our hands and lead us to ‘the chosen option.’ We will just have to proceed on our journey knowing He has endorsed our decision and is close by in case things go wrong.

Aisha (R.A.) said it can be repeated as necessary.

Allahumma innee astakhiruka bi ‘ilmik; wa astaqdiruka bi qudratik, wa as’aluka min fadhlika-l-adheem. Fa innaka taqdiru walaa aqdir, wa ta’alamu wa laa a’alam, wa anta ‘alaamul ghuyuub. Allahumma, in kunta ta’alamu anna haadhal amr, khayrun liy, fiy deeni wa ma’aashiy wa aqeebata amriy…


For the full Arabic text and translation, click HERE.
May Allah guide all our decisions.